Plymouth Energy adds remote rail loading capacity

By Ann Bailey | August 27, 2015

Construction is under way in Le Mars, Iowa, on a 300,000 gallon Plymouth Energy ethanol holding storage tank and a 40-car rail spur.  Plymouth Energy is based in Merrill, Iowa, which is about six miles from Le Mars. The Merrill plant is on a 57-acre site on the north side of Merrill, a city about 20 miles northeast of Sioux City, Iowa.

Under an agreement between the city of Le Mars and Burlington Junction Railway, trans-load services are available to several industries, including Plymouth Energy.

Currently, the ethanol produced at the Merrill plant must be shipped west to the Pacific Northwest, California or the Gulf, and pay high switching fees to be shipped back east, said Eamonn Bryne, Plymouth Energy CEO.

Byrne declined to estimate how much shipping from the $3.1 million Le Mars holding storage tank near the short-line railroad would improve Plymouth Energy’s bottom line, but he did say it would give the company access to new markets. The transfer service allows Plymouth Energy access to Canadian National Railway which will ship ethanol east to 11 Chicago markets Byrne said. “It obviously will result in a better return to the plant.”

Meanwhile, down the road, the 40-car rail spur in Le Mars will give Plymouth Energy the ability to sell tanker loads of E85, he said.

Construction on the Le Mars storage tank and rail spur is expected to be completed at the end of the year and operational by early next year, Byrne said.  The Plymouth Energy facility in Le Mars is expected to employ two people who will divide their time between the Le Mars and Merrill facilities.